UNREALISTIC OR UNFULFILLED EXPECTATIONS IN RECIPIENTS AS A WELFARE CONSIDERATION IN PLACING TRAINED ASSISTANCE DOGS
Objectives: This study examines satisfaction with an assistance dog, and the social, psychological and physical well-being reported by recipients of trained service dogs and compares these findings with expected benefits expressed by people on a 'waiting list' for such a dog. The objective was to investigate whether any significant disparity between real and expected benefits should raise concerns over dog welfare and training.
Design: An anonymous questionnaire was distributed to all recipients of Dogs for the Disabled in the United Kingdom (N=123) examining satisfaction with their dog, and the social, psychological and physical well being. A parallel questionnaire was distributed to people on the waiting list (N=33).
Results: Responses were received from 85 recipients (70%) and 12 (36%) on the waiting list. Anticipated benefits of having a dog as reported by waiting list subjects were consistently exceeded by reports of actual benefits by recipients.
Conclusions: Findings regarding benefits supported findings of an earlier published study. Unfulfilled benefits anticipated by potential owners do not form the basis of welfare concerns.